Fri, Mar 18, 9:40pm by Kevin Pitstock
This game has suddenly become important for Stoke City, who have to put thoughts of the FA Cup semi-final to one side and to re-focus on Premier League survival. They might be 12th, but they are just three points above the relegation zone. Tony Pulis believes 40 points will be enough to survive, and it equates to two more wins. Newcastle sit in the middle of the table, but 5 points away from relegation. With so many teams having to clamber over each other though, they should be ok as they return to action after a fortnight’s break.
STOKE CITY PREVIEW
Stoke’s good run in the FA Cup has masked an indifferent run on Premier League form where they haven’t won in their last four matches and they were well beaten by West Ham in their last Premier game. Only Wolves have lost more matches, but Stoke have made up for that by drawing just four times, the fewest of ay Premier League side. Asmir Begovic is expected to replace Thomas Sorensen in goal, and there are concerns about striker John Carew, who has a back injury. It’s also a worry they have become completely reliant on set pieces in recent weeks, having not scored in open play in the league since January 4th.
NEWCASTLE UNITED PREVIEW
Newcastle look as if they might take action to try and nullify that set-piece threat that Stoke carry, with Sol Campbell expected to return to defence to use his aerial ability. Joey Barton and Jose Enrique are two important players who are struggling to be fit. If Jonas Gutierrez is not fully fit then that left back area is a real problem. Stoke won the reverse fixture in September, which might be a hint that Newcastle aren’t too comfortable in dealing with the type of game Stoke play. The Geordies have performed well away from home though, although scoring goals is very difficult for them on the road, with just 12 in 14 matches, so they look like they have the ability to keep these games tight. This might be a big hint to over/under punters to go for the lower end of the goal scoring range.
STOKE CITY v NEWCASTLE UNITED BEST BET & PREDICTION
If Stoke can take some positives from their FA Cup win, they should have just enough here to outfight the Magpies and ease some pressure before their Cup semi-final. We like a 1-0 win for Stoke here and we recommend Stoke at $2.25 with Sportsbet Australia.
Back a Stoke win at $2.25 with Sportsbet Australia!
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